Portsmouth’s anticipate a primary victory within the play-offs continues after being held to a 1-1 draw at dwelling to Oxford within the first leg of their League One semi-final.
Marcus Browne pounced for Oxford two minutes earlier than half-time to cancel out Republic of Eire worldwide Ronan Curtis’ 14th purpose of the season.
Pompey, who’ve now gone seven play-off matches with no single win, had been cheered on by cardboard cut-outs of greater than 850 supporters.
Among the many well-known faces within the make-shift crowd had been Solely Fools and Horses actor David Jason and Mr Bean star Rowan Atkinson.
The south coast facet, whose solely dwelling defeats this season had been by the hands of Premier League duo Arsenal and Southampton, got here storming out of the beginning blocks.
Curtis may have opened the scoring after solely six minutes when his drilled shot clattered the bottom of the submit.
The hosts carved one other good likelihood three minutes later from Marcus Harness’ floated free-kick however defender Christian Burgess couldn’t preserve his header down.
Pleasure of six
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Pompey had two robust penalty appeals turned down after Oxford defender Rob Dickie first appeared to deal with the ball inside his personal field earlier than later dragging Burgess to floor.
Kenny Jackett’s males took a deserved lead within the 32nd minute as Curtis discovered area contained in the Oxford penalty space earlier than firing low previous goalkeeper Simon Eastwood at his close to submit.
The purpose appeared to spark Oxford into life and within the 38th minute, on-loan Bristol City striker Matty Taylor was inches away from getting on the tip of Browne’s cross.
The guests equalised within the 43rd minute courtesy of Browne’s sixth purpose of the season.
Browne picked up the ball 10 yards exterior the Portsmouth penalty space earlier than reducing in from the left and steering a right-foot shot past the despairing dive of Alex Bass.
Browne continued to be Oxford’s danger-man within the early levels of the second half and 12 minutes after the restart the previous West Ham teen dragged a shot extensive from the sting of the penalty space.
James Henry additionally fired an effort tamely into the arms of goalkeeper Bass within the 66th minute as Karl Robinson’s facet tried to impose their authority on the sport.
Burgess was making his farewell Fratton Park look after sealing a three-year contract with Belgian membership Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, owned by Brighton chairman Tony Bloom.
The centre-back examined the reflexes of Eastwood with a downward header from a Harness free-kick, which the Oxford shot-stopper did properly to show previous the submit.
The 2 groups will meet once more at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium on Monday to determine who progresses to the ultimate at Wembley on July 13, with the tie evenly poised.